Trial begins for man accused of killing girl, 16

November 4, 2013 12:43:38 PM PST
Testimony began Monday in the capital murder trial of a North Texas man who prosecutors say killed his children's baby sitter after she accused him of rape.

Franklin Davis was in a Dallas courtroom to answer for the September 2012 slaying of 16-year-old Shania Gray.

Police have said the 31-year-old Davis confessed to killing Gray to prevent her from testifying against him the following month in the sexual assault case. He has denied the girl's claims that he raped her when she was 14.

He created a fake Facebook profile of a teenage boy as part of a plan to lure Gray from her school to an isolated location in Irving. He told The Dallas Morning News in a jailhouse interview last year that he had only wanted to record the girl admitting that he didn't rape her. But investigators have said he shot her twice before stepping on her neck until she stopped breathing.

"I just want everyone to remember me as the man that I was," Davis said at the time, "not as the monster I became on that day."

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if Davis is convicted.

Defense attorney Karo Johnson told the Morning News that Davis is guilty of murder, but not capital murder. If convicted of murder, Davis would not be eligible for the death penalty.

Davis spurred a review of sheriff's procedures when he escaped from jailers in December while awaiting trial.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said at the time that law enforcement officers failed to follow standard procedures for escorting prisoners when Davis grabbed a deputy's service revolver and escaped from a Dallas hospital. He was tracked to a van nearby and surrendered peacefully after a two-hour standoff. The deputy was not injured.

Davis had been admitted to the hospital on Dec. 1 "for what medical staff considered severe complaints," Valdez said.

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